The International Service Design Institute, a U.S.-based service design training organization, conducted a poll on the state of the service design field, including employers, and the work of practitioners. The survey, which ran across social media platforms during 2021—a period of Covid—garnered 225 responses. Respondents were screened by those who identify as service designers.

What we found in summary:

Service design is a growing field of practice, evident by the number of job postings, the launch of professional service design groups, and those who identify themselves as service designers on LinkedIn.

Additionally, service design (and service designers) is practiced around the world in nearly every populated region. It is practiced in Europe, the Americas, India, the Oceanic, South-East Asia, Russia, China, and Africa.  We have tracked some of this activity to the larger numbers of students who graduate with minors or master’s degrees from both scientific schools (Carnegie Mellon) and prominent design schools here in the U.S., the UK, and Italy.

The growth is demand-based and spills over into job promotions, competitive salaries, and equal gender pay.  We don’t have evidence of service designers in the c-suite. Our data does show many service designers transferred into the field from other disciplines, namely UX design, and that employers value those with a range of skills, from business acumen to leadership and presentation skills, along with user research.

The poll queried respondents on a number of work-related issues, some of the questions were structured as open-ended to gather opinions.  The respondents’ answers covered which skills are vital to project success, which skills are most valued by hiring managers, what could be improved to help the field, impacts from COVID on projects and job responsibilities, and frequently used definitions to describe the field and its benefits.

For a free copy of Service Design 2021 Survey Results: or email; Subject: 2021 Survey Report; please include name and current or immediate prior place of employment.

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